Generating Meaning for Range, Mode, Median, and Mean

We never “discussed” anything about median, mean, mode, and range other than the procedure to find these numbers.  We did talk about how the MEAN is an average of all the numbers that are in the data set.  But, as we talked about the other night, the AVERAGE can signify a whole host of things.  Also, I remember learning about standard deviation in high school and talking about bell curves but that’s where my recollection ends.

What I really remember is relearning what median, mean, mode, and range so that I could help my kids with their math homework when they were in 4th grade.  In my experience in elementary classrooms recently, I haven’t seen any such investigation of these concepts.  That’s certainly not to say that they are happening, but I just haven’t seen it.  I agree that this would provide a much better understanding and “base” for interpreting data than just learning the “formulas.”  This example was awesome, BUT, it did designate 4 to 5 days for this lesson.  Do teachers and schools have that kind of time to spend on one concept?  However, I do see the true significance to understanding and reasoning that this process holds.  Would it be possible to conduct a shortened version of this investigation then present data set algorithms lesson as a follow-up to check for understanding?

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One thought on “Generating Meaning for Range, Mode, Median, and Mean”

1. I agree, Annette, I definitely remember covering mean,median,mode, and range in elementary but not actually using it until I got into statistics and higher level math in high school. I definitely thought that trying to get children to work each of the concepts out on their own prior to teaching the lesson might take longer than the allotted time for the lesson (as you mentioned), which is why I feel direct instruction may be a better approach to teaching certain math concepts.

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